Lot 78, the Almanzor colt out of Group One performer Girl Of My Dreams, was purchased from Haunui Farm’s draft by Mark Baker for $145,000.  Photo: Trish Dunell

Almanzor colt tops strong weanling sale

NZ Racing Desk
14 May 2021

Mark Baker has had plenty of success pinhooking out of New Zealand Bloodstock’s May Sale, and he believes he has found another promising youngster at Karaka on Friday.

The Hallmark Stud principal paid $145,000 for lot 78, the Almanzor colt out of Group One performer Girl Of My Dreams from Haunui Farm’s draft.

The colt topped the Weanling Sale and Baker thought justifiably so.

“I loved him from the time we saw him at Haunui. Myself and my partners are delighted to get him,” Baker said.

“He has a wonderful temperament, he never batted an eyelid up here all week. He is beautifully balanced with great strength, great movement, and is correct. He is off a great farm by an extremely exciting young horse in Almanzor.”

The colt will return to Karaka in January where he will be offered through Hallmark Stud’s New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale draft.

“The plan is to go through Karaka in 2022. But with a lovely horse like this you have got some options too,” Baker said.

Baker has already had great success with Almanzor’s first crop of yearlings at this year’s sales.

“Almanzor has been very good to us,” he said. “We sold one for $560,000 on behalf of the Pike’s, and a filly we bred for $300,000.

“They are wonderful types and I have worked with enough of them now and they have got brilliant temperaments, they are going to be a huge chance.”

Baker played a dual role at Karaka, also offering a five-strong draft under his Hallmark Stud banner.

“For a nice horse, they were extremely hard to buy,” he said. “If you had a genuine horse here today, as was proven, there was a lot of money here.”

Haunui Farm principal Mark Chitty was delighted with the result and expected the colt to sell well.

“We have been selling weanlings for a long time and he is the nicest we have brought to this sale, and he sold accordingly,” Chitty said.

“He is a lovely colt out of a very good mare and by a young sire who has created a lot of interest, and they have sold really well.

“I expected him to be a six-figure horse. He oozed class and handled pressure.

“He was bought by a very good judge in Mark Baker. He bought Hardline off us and he went on and won the Karaka Million. He was a very good pinhook result for him.

“The mare is back in-foal to Almanzor, so it was a great result.”

Haunui Farm were leading vendor by aggregate at the sale and Chitty said the higher end of the market sold well.

“The good horses, and there haven’t been a lot of them, have sold well, but underneath that reflects the state of the industry,” he said.

“You haven’t got people buying horses to put in the paddock and wait. It’s the traders, people who are looking to pinhook yearlings or ready-to-runners.”

Chitty is a big supporter of the dedicated weanling sale and his thoughts were justified by the strong market on Thursday.

“I totally support a standalone weanling sale,” he said. “I don’t think you have to have it mixed up and I think that it is great to be back at a sale ground.

“The pinhookers like to see horses in the flesh and they like to see how they handle pressure, especially if they are going to pay decent money for them.”

Chitty, who also chair’s the Counties Racing Club, said he has received positive feedback from industry participants at Karaka ahead of the potential merger between the Pukekohe club and the Ellerslie-based Auckland Racing Club.

“What I have felt is a lot of industry support for it (merger),” Chitty said. “Finally, something looks tangible and realistic. I hope it can continue to progress the way it did earlier in the week with our member forums.

“We have still got a hurdle to climb having to go to special general meeting level and it’s all up to racing club members to vote accordingly.

“The message is wide and clear that we can’t continue to do what we are doing, we have got to change the model, and this is a very sound model.”

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